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World Music CD Reviews South Asia

Aashish Kahn and Zahir Hussain

By Jill Ettinger
Published December 19, 2006

Golden Strings Of The Sarode

Eldest son of Indian Maestro legend Ali Akbar Khan, Aashish has been studying and performing classical Indian music since age five and earning accolades as a leading master composer of the sarode (a stringed instrument that sounds like a sitar but with more movement). The complicated musical structures of India’s well-known and loved ragas allow few to enter into this realm of demanding discipline, let alone achieve master status. To convey to one’s audience their true expressions within the pieces, masters must learn to understand this style without, well, understanding. As ragas are an art form notorious for boasting vaguely un-definable descriptions in the written form (for journalists like this one), they are equally and exquisitely beautiful to the ears which need no definition when immersed in this musical form. Khan makes some gorgeous contributions to the category with three deeply meditative efforts on Golden Strings Of The Sarode. With help of legendary tabla (the Indian clay drum) master Zakir Hussain, the album drifts beautifully into soft, emotional climaxes again and again.